‘Gift of life’: son donates his liver to save his father at Royal Free Hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:31 12 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:03 12 February 2016

Jonny (left) and Ruth Tamir (right) with Noam (centre)

Jonny (left) and Ruth Tamir (right) with Noam (centre)


A Belsize Park father has spoken of his pride after his son donated 61 per cent of his liver to save his life.

Jonny and Noam together after their surgeriesJonny and Noam together after their surgeries

Noam Tamir, 61, was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an incurable liver disease, and his rare B positive blood type meant it was difficult to find a donor.

His 23-year-old son, Jonny, a trainee accountant, asked to be tested.

“Jonny said, ‘I’m a match’, and I felt so terrible,” Noam told the Ham&High.

“I thought, my goodness, because of me, to risk everything. The message was quite a shock to me.

Organ donations in the UK

- The UK has an “opt-in” organ donation system where a person has to register their consent to donate their organs in the event of their death.

- Countries such as Spain, and recently Wales have an “opt-out” system where there is a presumption in favour of consent for organ donation unless a person had registered an objection in advance. An online petition has been launched for an “opt-out” system in the UK.

- The shortage of organs has led to more people receiving organs from living donors. Although this involves carrying out major surgery, results are often very successful.

“I was very worried about it, I felt that he shouldn’t suffer anything because of my illness.”

But while Noam was determined to stay on the donor list for a while longer, doctors could not find another healthy liver for him as his condition deteriorated.

Jonny persuaded his father to go ahead with the operation and it took place at the Royal Free Hospital in January, lasting a marathon 12 hours.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success - Jonny’s liver regenerated to its original size and functionality quickly, and Noam now has a fully functioning liver, although he has regular checkups.

Noam’s wife, Ruth, wheeled Jonny to him when he woke up after surgery.

“It was my greatest relief,” Noam said.

Noam still had regrets about what his son had to go through, but Jonny reassured him.

“Jonny walked with me to Primrose Hill, and he told me, ‘you have to remember, I wanted a father,’” he said.

Supported by Ruth and their two daughters, Elinor and Deborah, Noam and Jonny are making a full recovery together.

“My brother gifted my father a life,” daughter Deborah said.

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